The CSA started on June 12th and we haven’t looked back since. This summer has been an absolute blur of intention and frivolity, stress and joy, work and play, absolute order and absolute unplanned hilarity.
As I said back in June, we set some big goals to not only farm this summer but also enjoy these short perfect months. Summer in Wisconsin has this annoyingly beautiful way of blazing past you if you’re not careful. With severe winters and shoulder mud seasons on both sides, there are only so many months of green lush beauty and perfect weather. It has always been hard trying to fit in all the activities we love— hiking and running on local trails, cycling through the rolling countryside, watching baseball games, paddling down lazy rivers, taking impromptu camping trips or leisurely fishing outings, lingering in the backyard with a good book and a blanket, cooking up all the bounty we grow—but this year we were determined. We were determined to fit all that summer goodness on the side of an intense farming season and keeping up with family and friends. If you’ve been watching on Instagram or even read my summer solstice blog post, you’ll know we’ve been doing a pretty decent job of balancing a tremendous number of goals and priorities. But in all things, even in finding and making time for joy— the universe doesn’t always make it easy on us.
The first week of the CSA, the day before our first big harvest day, I bit into a tootsie pop carelessly and childishly, successfully knocking off a crown on my back molar. I guess we can’t blame the universe for that one— that was unequivocally and absolutely only my fault. I made an emergency dentist appointment for noon on Wednesday— CSA pack day. We packed up our boxes for the first time this season. We sent them off with our driver. And I was off to the dentist within seconds to get fixed.
The next week brought a little more chaos. On Sunday, our basement started backing up what I’ll only call “suspicious fluids”. Again, we attempted to handle it swiftly. I stayed home from work on Monday morning to deal with rotorooter man. He arrived five hours late and I deftly rearranged all my plans. Two hours in, he diagnosed the problem, a complication of the road construction on our street despite the fact I’d already called them, they’d already “checked it out” and determined the problem was not on their end. I spent the second CSA harvest morning on my couch waiting for city people to traipse in and out of our home. Eventually I called in reinforcements. My mom watched the home while I helped Kyle in the fields. Within another 48 painfully long hours, we were again able to use our toilets and sink.
The next week brought relative calm but it wasn’t long until a powerful storm shut down our walk-in cooler, the road construction crew hit a gas main in front of our house, our AC and oven went out unexpectedly at the exact same time, and we stopped being able to use our driveway. Sometimes relaxing and playing comes easy. Sometimes it feels like one more burden, one more thing to do in an already crazy life. Sometimes it’s hard to remember to be grateful for all you have when the bad feels like it’s piling up on top of you. But that’s exactly why we set these goals and make them a priority. Play and rest and silliness aren’t frivolous— they’re not one more thing to pile onto the heap. They’re essential. They’re the whole damn point.
I hope your summer is perfect in its chaos and perfect even in the way it’s racing by. I hope if things feel stressful and overwhelming, you’re still making space to just exist and enjoy and be (even if it’s coming with a little bit of stress if it’s own). And more than anything dear friends, I hope your summer is bountiful and beautiful and exactly what you need.
MISO ROASTED ROOT VEGGIE NOODLE BOWL
Adapted from Sweet Lizzy
Takes 1 hour
1 1/2 pounds carrots, topped and peeled
1 1/2 pound beets, topped and peeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon white miso paste
2 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
4 cups roughly chopped mushrooms (I used a mixture of shittakes and cremini)
8-10 ounces rice noodles (I love the Lotus Foods Millet & Brown Rice Ramen)
4-5 ounces lettuce mix
2-3 avocados, sliced
1/2 cup Almond Miso Dressing (see below)
2 tablespoons white or black sesame seeds, optional
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut beets in half and then cut each half into quarters. Cut carrots in half in the middle and then quarter each half lengthwise. Spread out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, white miso paste and 1 tablespoon maple syrup until smooth. Brush carrots and beets with this mixture then roast for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, toss veggies and then roast 20 minutes longer.
- In a medium saucepan, mix together soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and remaining 1 tablespoon maple syrup. Add mushrooms and toss until they’re well-coated. Cook over medium low heat for 15-20 minutes. The mushrooms will first release a lot of liquid, then reduce down. Once fully cooked and soft, remove from the heat.
- Cook noodles according to package directions.
- Divide lettuce mix evenly into dinner bowls. Top with noodles and miso roasted veg. Spoon mushroom mixture (sauce and mushrooms) over noodles. Add 1/2 avocado to each bowl. Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of Almond Miso dressing and then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Add kimchi to your preference.
ALMOND MISO DRESSING
1/2 cup almonds
5 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon white miso
1 tablespoon maple syrup
- In a food processor, process almonds until finely chopped (so it looks roughly like minced garlic). Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth. You may have to scrape down edges a couple times.